Although it's a reality that the majority of physicians will face a malpractice claim, few are prepared when served with a lawsuit.
Recent fires, hurricanes, and floods nationwide have highlighted the importance of planning for disasters. Physicians are critical participants in disaster preparedness, ensuring that patient care and critical services are not interrupted—especially for at-risk individuals who may have special medical needs.
Almost a year ago, Congress established the Quality Payment Program (QPP) under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). While designed to improve patient health outcomes, encourage practices to spend wisely, minimize the burden of practice participation, and be fair and transparent, the program has been difficult for many medical practices to implement. The government recently announced 2018 changes to this program. But don’t be dismayed. Many of these changes add flexibility and higher exemption requirements—welcome news to medical practices.
More than ever, physicians are focusing on treatment plans that include the kind of care patients need at home. However, physicians face potential liability when patients refuse help that is offered or neglect to follow up as instructed. If a patient sues, even a verdict in favor of the physician does not negate the time, expense, and emotional impact of a lawsuit. Consider this example: A 67-year-old male with a history of obesity, hypertension, hypercholesterol, atrial fibrillation, and cardiovascular disease had seen the same physician for 20 years. During one hospitalization, the patient was put on the blood thinner Coumadin. The physician and the discharge nurse both educated the patient and his wife about the risks of Coumadin use and the importance of having blood work done every month.
Taking a close look at research into real-life malpractice claims and incorporating some of the findings into their practices is one way physicians are reducing risks of adverse events.
The number of closed malpractice claims in which EHRs are a contributing factor increased continuously over the past 10 years. This study of EHR claims identifies the most common patient allegations and the specific factors contributing to patient injury.
A study by The Doctors Company and CRICO Strategies found that a significant proportion of liability cases involving cardiovascular disease were due to errors of diagnosis and the real liability danger doesn't come from unusual or ambiguous cases, but from the relatively straightforward ones.
As the end of the third quarter of 2017 approaches, practices that have not yet developed their MACRA plan face great urgency to complete their plan—and those who have started may be feeling overwhelmed. Regardless of the reporting stage, these steps can help guide practices to succeed.
Ted Abernathy, MD, Managing Partner of Pediatric & Adolescent Health Partners, discusses his experience with The Doctors Company’s risk assessment service, which his practice used to improve communications and make better use of their electronic health records to reduce risks.
Opioids play an important role in pain management—both in acute and chronic settings. However, the dramatic increase in opioid use over the past few decades has resulted in a crisis of addiction and death. This article provides information on claims in which opioids resulted in patient harm and a summary of guidelines for prescribing opioids.
When it comes to cybersecurity, more than money and IT security are at risk—patient safety is also compromised by a cyberattack.
The widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) has led to a number of unintended consequences—particularly a negative effect on doctor satisfaction and practice workflow. Medical practices have tried many different solutions to help alleviate the burden, and one of the most common solutions is the adoption of medical scribes.
Will Washington cancel coverage for millions of patients and unleash a tidal wave of litigation on the U.S. healthcare system? I challenge leaders in healthcare and government to address this question.
On May 12, 2017, the world’s biggest ransomware attack nearly crippled Britain’s public health system and forced doctors to turn patients away. The WannaCry worm, which experts believe to have come from U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) hacking tools released by Wikileaks, spread quickly to companies and critical infrastructure worldwide. A White House homeland security adviser said that more than 300,000 computers across 150 countries were hit. One cyber risk modeling firm put the total economic damage at $8 billion. Since the attack occurred, security researchers have already identified a new strain of malware that could be much more dangerous.
Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., and opioids account for over 60 percent of those deaths.1 While opioids are effective pain medications when used in the proper setting, concerns arise when the patient’s condition lasts longer than three months, and prescribing more medication does not necessarily result in better pain control.
In the mid-1970s, malpractice lawsuits and skyrocketing jury awards caused commercial insurance companies to raise physicians’ malpractice rates by as much as 400 percent. The practice of medicine was deemed to be “uninsurable.” Thousands of physicians faced cancellation of their policies. As a result, doctors came together to form their own companies to provide affordable and sustainable coverage. However, today’s physicians need more.
No matter how professional and caring a doctor you may be, eventually you will face criticism on the web. Here are five keys to managing that criticism.
Heart disease is the leading killer of women, responsible for one in every four female deaths, and this danger was highlighted by the tragic death of actress Carrie Fisher in late 2016. But almost two-thirds of women who die suddenly from heart disease had no previous symptoms.1 Diagnosis of an impending heart attack in a woman may be more difficult, as women often show different early signs and symptoms than men.
Patients with suicidal thoughts or ideation appear occasionally in physician encounters. Any patient, no matter what issue is being treated and in any setting, could be at risk for suicide. A consistent and formal screening process, plus a response plan, will protect both the patient and the physician.
Each member of a healthcare team plays an important role in reducing the number of incidents that cause patient dissatisfaction.
The bar has been raised on HIPAA and ransomware attacks. Under its recently released guidance, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) now presumes that a ransomware attack compromises electronic protected health information (ePHI)—unless the HIPAA-covered entity can prove otherwise.
The digitization of medicine is transforming the entire healthcare system. New technologies like mobile apps and wearables bring both benefits and risks, patient access to healthcare is evolving, EHRs have created new patient safety risks, and artificial intelligence is evolving to play a role in future patient care. How can doctors adapt to these massive changes?
The U.S. has one of the safest drug and medication supply systems in the world, in part due to careful regulation in the face of globalization and increasing threats to the supply chain. However, according to the FDA, there is a growing network of rogue wholesale drug distributors selling potentially unsafe drugs in the U.S. market.
Differences in the early symptoms and signs of an impending heart attack in women may make diagnosis more difficult compared to men. In a study of closed medical malpractice claims involving undiagnosed heart disease in women from 2011 to 2015, The Doctors Company found that in 70 percent of claims the patient died when her heart condition was not correctly diagnosed and 28 percent had heart muscle damage from myocardial infarction.
It’s not uncommon for diabetic patients to file claims against their diabetes care team for failure to properly diagnose, supervise, monitor, and/or treat their disease. This article outlines ways physicians can have effective conversations with their patients to decrease malpractice risks.
Cybercrime costs the U.S. economy billions of dollars each year and causes organizations to devote substantial time and resources to keeping their information secure. This is even more important for healthcare organizations, the most frequently attacked form of business. The Doctors Company's expert resources, including free CME, videos, infographic, and cybersecurity report, can help protect healthcare organizations and physician practices from this emerging area of risk.
Cloud storage is a convenient and cost-effective solution for medical practices and facilities, but precautions must be taken to ensure stored patient data is secure. This article has tips for choosing a cloud service provider.
The web is a powerful tool for physicians. Establishing your online presence on social media allows you to engage with patients, grow your reputation, and make your voice heard. These resources can help you get started on social media and expand your online presence.
This review of 429 cardiology claims identifies the most common patient allegations and the specific factors contributing to patient injury. All physicians should take note of this study because a variety of specialties tend to be named in these lawsuits.
Risk Tip | Teamwork—an essential part of a safety culture—has come to the forefront as the most effective way of catching individual errors before they occur and of mitigating system failures. In the OR, for example, studies have shown that implementing team training is associated with a significant decrease in surgical mortality.1,2 The team approach is not new, but its value and definition are changing. Good communication, along with a focused team approach in dealing with problems, can make a positive difference in any outcome.
Risk Tip | Practices and hospitals that employ advanced practice providers (APPs), including nurse practitioners and physician assistants, can experience many benefits, such as lower operating overhead, increased physician time with patients, and improved patient education and satisfaction. However, employers of APPs should consider implementing effective risk management measures to help ensure that the benefits of using APPs are not at the expense of increased liability exposure.